The French film Bienvenue chez les Ch’ti (Welcome to the Land of Ch’ti’s), starring comdeian Danny Boon, released in 2008 was quite funny. The film featured the Ch’ti language, culture and the view of the language by outsiders. The film sold over 20 million tickets in France alone and enabled the general public to rediscover a regional language that has faced a lot of stigmatization and is in danger of extinction. Ch’ti may be spoken by as many as 2 million people, but it is hard to tell given the fact that the French government does not include ethnic language statistics in its census reports.
Ch’ti is also known as Picard or Chtimi. Ch’ti is a language or set of languages that are closely related to French. The language is spoken in the northern parts of France and in Belgium. The French government does not recognize Ch’ti as a regional language, as the government only allows for one official language in France, which is French. The language is generally used among family members and friends but it is not taught in French schools. However, it is being studied as a research subject in different universities such as in Amiens and Lille. The language is losing it’s distinctiveness and is now being more commonly confused with French. Even though some people can understand the language, fewer and fewer people can speak it. In fact, it is quite rare to find someone under the age of 50 who speaks Ch’ti as a first language.
Ch’ti is mainly a spoken language as there are no current literature written in the language. However, there are a lot of literature available, which were written during the medieval period. A transcription of the spoken language has resulted in words being spelled in different ways. One spelling system that is commonly used is quite similar to French, which makes it easier for French speakers to comprehend the language. This has not been favorably viewed as it as resulted in the Ch’ti language being seen as a corruption of the French language. The more preferred writing system is Feller Carton, which is a spelling system based on Walloon spelling system, that was developed by Jules Feller.